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Thinking About Canceling Therapy?

Things to Consider Before Canceling Therapy

Most people enter therapy to address specific issues, such as relationship trouble, childhood trauma and major life changes. But what should you do when those issues seem resolved? Before you walk away from therapy, learn how it can remain valuable even when your life is relatively drama-free.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Sometimes quitting therapy is an easy call: If your therapist dozes off, calls you by the wrong name or watches the clock, you should certainly move on. Far too often, however, people end therapy for the all the wrong reasons. If you're thinking about concluding your therapy sessions, ask yourself the following questions before coming to a decision:

  • Have you resolved the problem that made you seek therapy in the first place?

  • Are you where you want to be in your life?

  • Have you developed the tools you need to cope with situations and people more consciously and effectively?

  • Are your moods reasonable and stable, regardless of the situation at hand?

  • Is there still room for improvement and continued understanding about yourself, your loved ones and your life?

Staying Grounded

When we are overwhelmed with stress or sadness, it's easy to see how therapy can help. When things calm down, however, many people begin regarding therapy as unnecessary. Therapists commonly refer to this as "the flight into health" in which symptoms temporarily disappear. After a few weeks or months of quitting, however, people often begin re-experiencing negative behaviors or emotions. This can result in a rebound effect, where a person is consistently in and out of therapy.

Even if they feel they've conquered a major life hurdle, many people continue using therapy as a resource that keeps them emotionally grounded through good and bad times. This can help prevent recurring problems, while also keeping new issues from taking as great a toll on the person's psyche and emotional well-being.

Coming to a Decision

Everyone is happy when therapy ends successfully. That said, some people end their journey before they cross the finish line. It's easy for most of us to rationalize that we don't need help, especially when we feel fine in the current moment. Unfortunately, sometimes people make rash decisions without being aware of the unconscious feelings that motivate their thinking.

If you are considering an end to therapy, make sure you are being honest with yourself about your reasons and current state of mind. Evaluate whether your symptoms might be temporarily hiding in remission, and weigh your ability to cope with potential stressors going forward.

Finally, talk to your therapist about your thoughts and consider his or her input. Contrary to common myths, professional therapists have no interest in holding onto clients for monetary reasons. When successful therapy comes to an end, both the therapist and patient experience pride and happiness over the accomplishment. At the same time, it's a therapist's responsibility to evaluate a patient's reasons for quitting to make sure they are founded in good judgment and reality.

The ultimate decision will always be up to you, but it's nice to have a professional opinion from someone who knows your history and tendencies.